The Missing Link to Break the Pain-Spasm-Pain Cycle

Jan 12, 2019

In the old model, one would target the pain or muscle tension to try to break the cycle – anything that would put you closer to the original problem of the cycle which is typically pain.

In the Pain Patters and Solutions (PPS) model, it shows you that you target the healed outcome of the injury – Scar Tissue patterns – to create the greatest possible change in the muscular system.

 When you target Scar Tissue instead of muscle tissue or areas of pain, you have found the bypass or stop-switch you have been looking for to stop the pain-spasm-pain model

As you can also see there are 2 additional depleting cycles within the PPS pain cycle. These 2 areas create the downward spiral of health that you can observe and feel with your hands, but just can’t seem to find or locate. Those areas are:

  1. The paired Primary and Compensating Scar Tissue areas

  2. The Energy Depletion Cycle that occurs because of this cycle

These 2 cycles set you up for the “draining” fatigue and muscle weakness (muscle lengthening, TP, restriction, reduced circulation) resulting in more fatigue and injury. These 2 cycles are also responsible for the higher levels of inflammation that you cannot seem to break through in some clients.

In PPS Bodywork, I teach you to NOT target pain or inflammation because these 2 factors are only the end result of the paired Scar Tissue cycle. The outcome of the problem is where someone hurts; it is the effect. Until you find the cause, treating the effect can be extremely…. well, ineffective.

For those with higher levels of inflammation in their body to begin with, working on only the painful areas will only feed the fatigue and energy depletion they are currently struggling with.

How Does This Happen? 

When you work an area of pain, you are most likely creating more inflammation. For someone who already has too much inflammation in their body, creating even more inflammation creates the scenario of energy depletion. It does not create the scenario of healing and goes the opposite direction of what you were hoping to create in their body as massage therapist. If the client’s body has to heal new inflammation while still dealing with chronic issues, the outcome will consistently be a draining process on the already depleted body.

This is a process I call “feeding dysfunction”. This is when a treatment that works well for other’s bodies but only backfires for these clients. The person experiences only more pain as the treatment outcome. This is also extremely frustrating and confusing for the therapist. There is nothing more discouraging then doing what you think is best for a client only to have them somewhat debilitated and worse after the treatment.

For most people, the best healing outcome only occurs when you can decrease the inflammation and pain at the same time therefore creating the best possible healing outcome. This is also learning about how to treat the real cause which has and always will be Scar Tissue Patterns.

The Universal Truth 

My all-time favorite statement for being effective at pain management is:

"The body can either fight pain or heal. It does not do both very well at the same time".

The explanation for that statement is in the PPS Pain-Spasm-Pain Model. Until you break apart the existing Scar Tissue pairs, muscles can and will continue to fight against that force without a break.

The analogy of muscles fighting against Scar Tissue is much like a rubber band fighting against a rock. The rubber band over time will stretch out from repeated overuse. The rock will remain solid and steady.

Who do you think is going to win? The stronger and un-moving force. The rock; Scar Tissue.

The rubber band will only become weaker to the point of breaking and this is exactly what muscles do. The symptom that consistently manifests prior to a muscle tearing or is communicating that this muscle is starting to fatigue is muscle pain. Treating that pain can weaken the muscle further to the point of tearing and no amount of therapeutic inflammation will help.

Muscles can HEAL and become pain-free, but only after they are no longer fighting “the rock”.

What most people don’t know is that Scar Tissue is very adaptable and responsive. It just needs a little heat and stretching, and it will respond quickly to change. The location of Scar Tissue is its elusive feature. These Scar Tissue areas are mostly found on top boney surfaces, large fascial areas and heavy ligament structures. Where else would you find a “rock”?

Next Concept 

The question then would be: How do you know where to work to help someone decrease pain but not increase inflammation at the same time?

The entire PPS program which includes PPS Basics, Intermediate 1, 2 and 3 courses (about 100 hours of training) uses a unique matching game to teach you how to really know what to work for the greatest possible change.

Once you have a paired set of Scar Tissue areas, a unique thing happens somewhere in the middle of those 2 areas of Scar Tissue.

There becomes a point of very intense resistance between those 2 areas. That area between the two forces is what we commonly know as a “Trigger Point”. The location of each Trigger Point is based on the two Scar Tissue patterns in balanced opposition. Why these areas form and how they form is the basis for the PPS Training program

This is when PPS theory gets very interesting and complex at the same time.

For each Trigger Point, the body is simply telling you that it is between 2 paired Scar Tissue areas. Each Trigger Point essentially becomes a simple equation to work for solving the problem:

(x) Trigger Point = Primary Scar Tissue (injury) + Compensating Scar Tissue (Balance for Injury)

Once you break through those Scar Tissue patterns, the Trigger Point pain reduces significantly if not stops completely. That is one of the ways you know that the work you are doing is correctly balancing the systems, both Scar Tissue and Muscular.

At this point, the energy used for fighting pain gets immediately shifted to healing. The body now has the energy to heal itself – the muscles specifically – because of the reduced need for inflammation. Inflammation is no longer needed to fight pain and muscle fatigue and is put towards the next greatest needs: regaining strength and healing.

Our program concept is called “Reverse Trigger Pointing”. This basically means you use the Trigger Point as the clue and work backwards from the point to find the answers which are paired Scar Tissue areas. Working the pairs breaks the pull between 2 areas and the center of that pair, the Trigger Point, is deactivated.

If you have been looking for a different answer to pain management, PPS bodywork is what you have been looking for.

Our PPS Basics Course (8CE hours) is the greatest place to start. You learn how to work with these 5 patterns in a new and more effective way – the PPS way! And the best part? These concepts are just tools that you incorporate into your existing bodywork treatment protocols.

To find this course and others, go to the PPS Seminars Online Training Center.

Have a great day and get a massage!

Amy Bradley Radford 

Blog + Massage + Business = Success!

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